Pastoral Statement Responding to Events in Charlottesville

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Aug. 16, 2017


“How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you,“Violence!” but you do not save?  Why do you make me look at injustice?…The law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.” (Habakkuk 1:2-4)

These words, written by the prophet Habakkuk, could have been written by those participating in peaceful, non-violent protest of the hateful language and deadly actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville these past few days. In addition to the physical deaths and injuries that resulted, there were many more, across this nation, whose hearts have been broken.

We have been made to witness the ugly realities of violence in words, actions, and legislation that some in this country face every day. We must be made uneasy and angry by the racist violence in our streets, workplaces, places of worship, halls of justice. We must acknowledge and denounce the empty proclamations of justice made by many political and religious leaders.

Like the prophet, many of us are angry at God for allowing injury and harm to those who seek justice.

As we return to our homes, attend rallies and vigils, write pubic statements, what shall we say and do at this critical moment in history? How might we partner in new ways with God and with others who long for justice?

Let us continue to lift one another in love that we not be overtaken by hate and fear. Let us pray for and with those who have been injured and traumatized. Let us challenge racism in our families, workplaces, schools, and in our places of worship — in love.

God is asking us, “How long?” This is a sacred moment filled with new opportunities for the next phase of healing racial, religious, and gender supremacy in the United States.

In response to Habakkuk, God says,“Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” (Habakkuk 1:5)

Do not lose heart or hope. As we stay strong in our faith, we will not be hemmed in by injustice. Together, let us discern how God might do amazing things through our hands and voices, our prayers and actions.


The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is a broad-based, national, interfaith movement that brings the moral force of religion to protect and advance reproductive health, choice, rights and justice through education, prophetic witness, pastoral presence and advocacy.

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